Learn from mistakes when organising 2027 Sea Games, says Pekan

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia should learn from past mistakes if it decides to host the 2027 Sea Games here.

That is the view of sports analyst Datuk Dr Pekan Ramli, who believes that Malaysia should commit to hosting the biennial games.

Malaysia was selected to host the 2027 Sea Games by the Sea Games Federation (SGF) in May 2022 during Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob's tenure as prime minister.

The current cabinet, however, has yet to approve the hosting of the games. The government recently rejected an offer to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games due to the high costs involved.

Malaysia last hosted the Sea Games in 2017.

"I believe we should host the 2027 Sea Games since the athletes preparation programmes, that will be implemented, will help us raise the performance of our athletes," said Pekan when contacted today.

"Our performance have suffered a decline in recent editions of the Sea Games. This (programmes) should help us bounce back.

"We, however, have to manage the games better than we did in the past. We have to learn from our mistakes from Kuala Lumpur 2017.

"There were issues with the accounts which have yet to be resolved. We have to be careful in this aspect in the future.

"The Sea Games is much smaller than the Commonwealth Games as only 11 countries participate and a number of those countries, such as Brunei and Timor Leste, send small contingents.

"And we already have most of the facilities needed to host the games, so there should not be much burden on the government. There is less to worry about in terms of funding.

"The Malaysia Games can even cost more to host than the Sea Games as states have to build facilities they do not have."

A number of issues were uncovered when the accounts for the 2017 Sea Games went through an external audit in 2019.

This includes a payment of RM9.56 million to a third-party vendor, which was done without approval from the finance committee.

Pekan added that hosting the Sea Games extends beyond chasing medals.

"The main purpose of the Sea Games is to promote unity within Southeast Asia and we have to respect that," said Pekan.

"Countries such as Brunei, Timor Leste, Laos and Cambodia rarely host the games so the responsibility usually falls on other Asean countries, including Malaysia.

"Hosting the Sea Games here will also boost public morale. When we host the games we usually aim to become overall champions.

"The public will be very happy if we manage to achieve that."

The national contingent emerged overall champions of the 2017 Sea Games after amassing 145 gold, 91 silver and 86 bronze medals.

Malaysia, however, could only manage 34-45-97 to settle for a lowly seventh, its worst performance in the history of the games, at last year's Phnom Penh Sea Games.

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